Schiff Defends Pursuing Contempt Charge Against Bannon: ‘Important to Send a Message That the Rule of Law is Back’
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) strongly defended the January 6th select committee’s decision to pursue a criminal contempt charge against Steve Bannon, telling CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday that it is “important to send a message that the rule of law is back.”
The move comes after Bannon ignored a subpoena seeking documentation and testimony about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Schiff told Acosta that he thinks the chances that the committee is able to question Bannon “are actually very good” because they are operating under the Biden administration’s Justice Department.
“During the last administration, the Justice Department was essentially serving the needs of Donald Trump, not representing the public interest,” he said. “And they were not about to prosecute people for covering up for Donald Trump. But it’s a new world now.”
He called the move to pursue criminal charges instead of civil litigation “a far swifter, far more serious remedy.”
“If the Justice Department prosecutes Steve Bannon, other witnesses will see they will face real consequences including jail time and potentially stiff fines,” Schiff added. “That is a way of getting people’s attention. Bannon’s an important witness in his own right, but it’s also important to send a message that the rule of law is back and people are going to need to pay attention.”
Schiff went on to underscore the importance that Bannon comply with the subpoena to avoid being referred for prosecution, before reiterating why the committee wants to hear from him.
“Steve Bannon was one of the president’s closest advisers,” he said. “He was predicting that all hell was going to break loose on January 6th. So he clearly has relevant information to share with the committee and we’re going to make sure that he does.”
Watch above, via CNN
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